View Full Version : Is anyone familiar with "bereavement" fares with airline companies?
08-10-2006, 02:20 PM
I'll be moving to Taiwan in about a month, and I have an 87 year-old grandmother. My parents and I started talking the other night about what I would do if, Og forbid, my grandmother dies while I'm there. I know that airlines have bereavement fares for people in this situation, but I'm wondering what the fares are like, how long the process takes, etc.
Anyone ever had to do this?
08-10-2006, 02:50 PM
Do not assume any or all airlines have bereavement fares. While many may have had in the past this does not mean they do now.
We recently had a death in my wife's family and had to fly on very short notice (can you say less than three hours' notice)? Not one major airline we contacted flying between our depature city nor arrival city had a bereavement fare. Only one airline offered to sell us tickets at the lowest fare available that day (waving all pre-purchase restrictions for us). We took that fare.
In the past those airlines that had bereavement fares often required you to purchase a ticket at full fare and then later submit a request for a bereavement refund, along with a copy of the death certificate and documentation proving a specified relationship (immediate family, granddparents, etc.).
I assume you are moving to Tawain from the US or another country. If that is the case international treaties may prohibit bereavement fares for international tickets.
The only fair answer is to contact all airlines between Taiwan and your country now and listen to their specific policies. My feeling is you will be disappointed in locating a bereavement fare of any kind.
08-10-2006, 03:03 PM
I have used bereavement fares, but that was in 1999. I have no idea what has changed in the last 6 years. Also, this was purely domestic. (Pittsburgh to NYC.)
When I needed to get to my grandfather's funeral, they asked me for my grandfather's name and the funeral home where his viewing was. (Which was somewhat... strange... as the funeral home was the one he ran for forty + years and my father's family had lived in; it still has the same last name.) Once they had that info, they charged me a reduced rate on the lowest fare I could get. It wasn't free, but it was cheaper than anything else. My memory is a little fuzzy, but it is entirely possible that I called up the frequent flyers program (to which I belonged), not some random call-line.
Good luck. I hope you don't have to find out what the details are these days.
08-10-2006, 03:05 PM
Here's an article (http://www.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2005-02-21-bereavement-usat_x.htm) with the bad news about most bereavement fares, which were never a bargain in the first place.
08-10-2006, 03:18 PM
Luckily, Delta's (http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/special_travel_needs/bereavement/index.jsp) bereavement is still effective for travel originating outside the 48 contiguous states. That's the only one I know of...
08-10-2006, 03:22 PM
\Only one airline offered to sell us tickets at the lowest fare available that day (waving all pre-purchase restrictions for us). We took that fare.
This is how it worked for my family recently when my father passed away. The bereavement fare was merely the low price ticket on the airline without the late purchase penalties applied. YMMV
08-10-2006, 03:24 PM
My wife used a breavement fare last year to fly from Baltimore to San Francisco. I think it was on United Airlines.
True, it wasn't exactly cheap, but it was certainly much cheaper than booking a last-minute cross-country flight would have been.
Also, they were able to get her on a non-stop flight (which would have been VERY expensive otherwise), and were willing to be flexible about her return date, as she didn't know how long she'd need to be out there.
All in all, she was glad she went with the bereavement fare. I'll ask her how much it cost; i can't remember now, but i think it was around $450 or so.
08-10-2006, 03:35 PM
I flew RDU to Detroit on Northwest in the '93 or so for free for a funeral. I went to a travel agency, told them I needed to get to Detroit for a funeral. They asked me the name, relationship and the funeral parlor name. Verified the info, and handled the rest.
08-10-2006, 03:52 PM
I've flown bereavement once. I didn't arrange the details, but it was basically just flying standby, with a slight preference over the other standby passengers (i.e., my name was near the top of the standby list). For a long, multi-leg flight, like from Taiwan to "naturally, in space", it might be more complicated.
08-10-2006, 04:52 PM
Huh. Delta didn't do nothin' for me when my grandfather died, because he wasn't dead yet when I was trying to get my mom up there. They may have given me a lowish price on my dad and my flight, but it's hard to remember since the whole thing was pretty traumatic. (Look, the last thing I wanted at the time was to be transferred to three different call centers in India with people whose English wasn't up to dealing with somebody who didn't want one of the options they gave me. By the time I got transferred back to America I was a mess and a half.)
Gary "Wombat" Robson
08-10-2006, 05:38 PM
When my father died, I tried to arrange a bereavement fare. They (Delta, IIRC) offered half the full-fare price. I checked a standard reservation service, and they had tickets available for a bit over half of the bereavement fare, so I took those instead.
08-10-2006, 06:07 PM
We recently had a death in my wife's family and had to fly on very short notice (can you say less than three hours' notice)?
When my grandmother got the news that her daughter had died while she was out of town, she went straight to the airport. Later, I saw that she had paid very little, but she hadn't even noticed at the time.
I know she didn't ask for a bereavement fare-- she didn't even notice what she had paid until later. The woman at the counter asked her what was wrong because my grandmother was crying and bewildered and must have done whatever she could to get my grandmother a low fare.
IIRC, this was Continental airlines.
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